Series: Pennyroyal Green

Review: The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne Long

Posted December 31, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne LongReviewer: Holly
The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne Long
Series: Pennyroyal Green #11
Also in this series: Like No Other Lover, I Kissed an Earl, What I Did For a Duke with Bonus Material, How the Marquess Was Won, It Happened One Midnight

Publication Date: September 29th 2015
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Bound by centuries of bad blood, England's two most powerful families maintain a veneer of civility . . . until the heir to the staggering Redmond fortune disappears, reviving rumors of an ancient curse: a Redmond and an Eversea are destined to fall disastrously in love once per generation.

An Enduring Legend

Rumor has it she broke Lyon Redmond's heart. But while many a man has since wooed the dazzling Olivia Eversea, none has ever won her—which is why jaws drop when she suddenly accepts a viscount's proposal. Now London waits with bated breath for the wedding of a decade . . . and wagers on the return of an heir.

An Eternal Love

It was instant and irresistible, forbidden . . . and unforgettable. And Lyon—now a driven, dangerous, infinitely devastating man—decides it's time for a reckoning. As the day of her wedding races toward them, Lyon and Olivia will decide whether their love is a curse destined to tear their families apart . . . or the stuff of which legends are made.

The Redmonds and Everseas have been rivals as far back as anyone can remember (it’s rumored one killed the other in 1605 over a stolen pig..or something…and that started the feud). When Lyon Redmond sees Olivia Eversea at a ball, he’s immediately draw to her, despite knowing his family’s history with hers. They can’t stay away from each other. ..until the night she betrayed him and forced him to leave.

For five years, Lyon hasn’t been seen nor heard from and Olivia decides it’s time to move on with her life, so she accepts the proposal of Viscount Lansdowne. She doesn’t love him…yet. But they have a strong affection for each other and she knows he’ll be easy. If she still isn’t quite over Lyon Redmond, well…no one has to know.

Lyon knows he and Olivia have unfinished business, so he engineers it so they have a week together. But this time he’s not going to bend to her. It’s time Olivia fought for him…for them.

I was worried this book wouldn’t live up to all the hype. Especially since their story was drug out over the course of the entire series. I’m happy to report I really enjoyed the book.

Lyon and Olivia’s story is told in alternating past and present chapters, so their story – both past and current – is revealed slowly. Their situation has never been black or white, but rather several shades of gray, some lovely and light, others dark and barren. Their love for one another came across easily, but both felt betrayed by the other, and letting go of those feelings was the true struggle.

Throughout the series, I’ve had the hardest time with Olivia. She seemed haughty and put on an air of being too good for others. That may not have been the case, but that’s what I took away from her actions in previous books. When we saw a bit of the situation from Lyon’s point of view in I Kissed An Earl, my negative feelings for Olivia solidified into outright dislike. Yet Olivia won me over and I was really pulling for her and Lyon. She ended up being a complex character who had many layers.

In the years since Lyon left, Olivia has lived in a suspended state, alternately praying for his return and cursing him for leaving. She finally realizes he isn’t coming back and decides to move forward with her life.

Which is, of course, when Lyon decides to kidnap her and take her aboard his ship. He’s spent his time away from Olivia alternately hating her and trying to become the man she expected him to be. But he can’t move on until they resolve what’s between them, and he doesn’t believe she can either. She nearly broke him when she sent him away from her the first time, but he realizes she’s worth fighting for..as long as she’s willing to fight as well.

At the heart of this story is Lyon’s determination to force Olivia to face her fears about them and the future.

“I believed you saw something fatal and irredeemable in me, and I quite simply couldn’t bear it, Olivia. Now I know that you were just a coward. It really wasn’t more complicated than that.”

 

Olivia could have been too much, but her quick acceptance of her part of the blame for their separation redeemed her.

All the rumors and legends were right.
She had broken his heart.
And in so doing, she had willfully, perhaps permanently, broken her own.
And everyone else’s who loved him.
All because she’d been too afraid to fight for him.

That’s not to say Lyon was completely blameless. When Olivia calls him out for leaving and not coming back, my heart nearly broke. For all her outward dismissal of his absence, her sense of abandonment and feelings of betrayal were almost palpable.

For all that, I believe their breakup and subsequent separation allowed them both to grow into the people they needed to be for their relationship to truly work. Both needed to grow up a bit, and accept their faults as well as develop their potential. Lyon especially needed to be out from under his father’s thumb.

I did become frustrated with Olivia at the end. I’m not sure why it took her so long – or, more to the point, why she let it go as far as it did – before she ceded to the inevitable. I was literally cursing her at the end. Yet I can’t deny the final resolution worked for me in a big way.

The epilogue was strange and I’m not quite sure how to feel about it. Is it the start of something new, or just a way for the author to end the series? I’ll be interested to see what happens with that.

This was a lovely tale, both heart-wrenching and exciting. Long excels at writing complex, beautiful stories and The Legend of Lyon Redmond was no exception. Despite their trials and tribulations, their story could have ended in no other way.

At the quiet heart of the storm of sparks around them was a strange, peaceful certainty. This person was meant for me.

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Between the Devil and Ian Eversea by Julie Anne Long

Posted April 11, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Between the Devil and Ian Eversea by Julie Anne LongReviewer: Tracy
Between the Devil and Ian Eversea by Julie Anne Long

Publication Date: March 25th 2014
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

She might look like an angel...

The moment orphaned American heiress Titania “Tansy” Danforth arrives on English shores she cuts a swath through Sussex, enslaving hearts and stealing beaux. She knows she's destined for a spectacular titled marriage—but the only man who fascinates her couldn't be more infamous...or less interested.

...but it takes a devil to know one...

A hardened veteran of war, inveterate rogue Ian Eversea keeps women enthralled, his heart guarded and his options open: why should he succumb to the shackles of marriage when devastating good looks and Eversea charm make seduction so easy?

...and Heaven has never been hotter.

When Ian is forced to call her on her game, he never dreams the unmasked Tansy—vulnerable, brave, achingly sensual—will tempt him beyond endurance. And fight as he will, this notorious bachelor who stood down enemies on a battlefield might finally surrender his heart...and be brought to his knees by love.

 

Tracy’s review of The Devil and Ian Eversea (Pennyroyal Green #9) by Julie Anne Long

Titania Danforth has come to Pennyroyal Green from America to be wed. First her brother then her parents died and she is all alone in the world. It’s asked of the Duke of Falconbridge to take care of seeing her wed as he is her father’s cousin. (Falconbridge if you remember married Genevieve Eversea in What I Did for a Duke.) Anyway, Tansy, as she likes to be called, seems like an angel. She is all that is good and proper and when she bats her eyes and smiles the men come running and just about lose their minds. Tansy also gets the eye of Lord Landsdowne who up til that point had been courting Olivia Eversea.

Ian sees Tansy and her “crew” of men and isn’t impressed. He thinks she’s completely shallow and hasn’t a thought in her head. He’s especially pissed because he thinks that she’s taking Landsdowne from Olivia and that is unacceptable to Ian as he doesn’t want his sister’s heart broken again as it was with Lyon Redmond. Basically he wants her out of the picture so he writes to a Duke’s heir to come to Pennyroyal Green so that he can court Tansy and get her gone.

Ian, however starts to realize that there’s a whole lot more to Tansy than anyone thinks. He sees her out on her balcony (as his room is right next door) doing things that ladies don’t do! She just starts to be a conundrum and he’s not sure what to do with it all.

Tansy of course sees Ian and is starstruck. She turns into an blubbering idiot when he’s around and she’s constantly chastising herself for it. Eventually Tansy and Ian actually talk and they, believe it or not, become friends. Then it moves quickly into much more as they’re both attracted to the other but since Tansy’s to marry a title and Ian is leaving on a world tour in about a month nothing can come of any of it. Or can it?

I think what I liked most about this book so much is that both Tansy and Ian are both basically lonely people who showed different faces to the world than who they really were. As the two got together Tansy got to see the real Ian and Ian got to see the real Tansy and they each realized that there was so much more to this other person than anyone, including them, had thought. It ended up being so romantic and I loved the two of them together. They were perfect for each other and knew, instinctively, what the other needed, whether it was some lovin or just to lie on the bed and hold hands and talk.

I just loved Tansy. I thought for sure, when the book first started that I was going to hate her and in the first scene, knowing that she was going to be paired with Ian, I was a bit confounded as to what JAL was thinking. Of course I shouldn’t have been surprised that Tansy had such hidden depths. I did feel for her completely as she was so alone in the world. When she spoke to Ian of how she felt after the death of her parents I was almost in tears:

“But after that…do you know what it’s been like, Ian? It’s a bit like going to the theater. And the play we’ve come to see is my life. A wonderful play. But then it ends before you expect it to, and you’re forbidden to leave, you’re locked in the theater, and you’re left to stare at an empty stage. And for all you know, you’ll just sit there forever.

That ‘bout broke my heart! But Ian, being the great guy he is, completely understood as he’d kind of been there before (when he returned from the war) and could be there for her. Sigh Loved it!

This is another fantastic book by Julie Anne Long. I love her books so much. Her writing style, her characters, her humor…everything blends so well and out comes an amazing story. She can bring forth such emotion in me that even when I don’t expect to be affected by something I completely am. She has a way of pulling the most out of every character and giving it to the reader in such a wonderful and emotional way that I can’t seem to get enough of it. I most emphatically recommend this book!

Rating: 5 out of 5

This title is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-book format. The book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

five-stars


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Lightning Review: It Happened One Midnight by Julie Anne Long

Posted November 13, 2013 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Lightning Review: It Happened One Midnight by Julie Anne LongReviewer: Holly
It Happened One Midnight by Julie Anne Long
Series: Pennyroyal Green #8
Also in this series: Like No Other Lover, I Kissed an Earl, What I Did For a Duke with Bonus Material, How the Marquess Was Won, The Legend of Lyon Redmond
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: June 25th 2013
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

More than one beautiful woman's hope shave been dashed on the rocky shoals of Jonathan Redmond's heart. With his riveting good looks and Redmond wealth and power, the world is his oyster—until an ultimatum from his father and a chilling gypsy prophecy send him hurtling headlong toward a fate he'll do anything to avoid: matrimony.

Intoxicating, elusive Thomasina de Ballesteros has the bloods of London at her feet. But none of them knows the real Tommy—the one with a shocking pedigree, a few too many secrets, and a healthy scorn for rakes like Jonathan.

She's everything Jonathan never wanted. But on one fateful midnight, he's drawn into Tommy's world of risk, danger . . . and a desire he'd never dreamed possible. And suddenly he's re-thinking everything . . . including the possibility that succumbing to prophecy might just mean surrendering to love.

 I adore this series. I’ve been anxiously awaiting Jonathan’s story a long time. He and Tommy didn’t disappoint.

Jonathan is the youngest son of Isaiah Redmond and the one his father thinks the least of. He considers Jonathan somewhat of a wastrel and a fairly useless man. Even though Jonathan tells him he’s making investments of his own, his father doesn’t believe him. He tells Jonathan he must marry by the end of the year or be cut off. Jonathan has a deal in the works, but he needs the additional capital from his father to see things through. He agrees to play along, figuring one wife is as good as another.

Thomasina de Ballesteros  is the daughter of  a Spanish Courtesan. She hosts a weekly salon at the home of  the scandalous Countess Maribeau. All the men of the ton are obsessed with Tommy, thinking they’re going to be her next protector.  She’s charming and elusive and Jonathan sees right through her. He recognizes himself in her and they form an unlikely bond. But they are from different worlds and there is no future for them. Tommy knows this…even when Jonathan doesn’t.

Long has the unique ability to draw me fully into her stories. I feel like I’m living the lives of her characters right along with them. Tommy was a woman willing to do whatever she needed in order to survive. That’s a trait I admire in women, especially those who lived in her era.  She was more than a predictable fallen woman, however. From her surprising pedigree to ability to cut the crap and see to the heart of every situation, she was someone I came to like and admire. Jonathan was just as strong and fierce as Tommy, though I’m happy to report he was also extremely intuitive and thoughtful.

Strong, witty and heart-stirring. Long delivers again.

4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

four-half-stars


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Review: How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long

Posted April 24, 2012 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne LongReviewer: Holly
How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long
Series: Pennyroyal Green #6
Also in this series: Like No Other Lover, I Kissed an Earl, What I Did For a Duke with Bonus Material, It Happened One Midnight, The Legend of Lyon Redmond
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: December 27th 2011
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

The Scandal Sheets call him Lord Ice.

Ruthless, cold, precise, Julian Spenser,Marquess Dryden, tolerates only the finest—in clothes, in horseflesh, in mistresses. And now he’s found the perfect bride, the one whose dowry will restore his family’s shattered legacy and bring him peace at last: the exquisite heiress Lisbeth Redmond.

She's about to play with fire...

But one unforgettable encounter with Lisbeth’s paid companion, Phoebe Vale,and the Marquess is undone. This quiet girl with the wicked smile and a wit to match is the first person to see through the icy façade to the fiery man beneath.But their irresistible attraction is a torment as sweet as it is dangerous,for surrendering to their desire could mean losing everything else they ever wanted.

Miss Phoebe Vale is a teacher and sometimes companion to Lisbeth Redmond. She has a bit of an obsession with the ton, particularly Lord Ice, Julian Spenser, Marquess Dryden. She and a local shopkeeper often joke that she, too, is a member of the peerage and make up stories about Lord Ice. Which is all fine and well, until the day he actually shows up at the shop. She overhears him make a bet with a friend that he can kiss her, the “unkissable schoolmistress”. Disillusioned, she returns to the school to prepare for his visit. Only he isn’t what she expected. During his tour, she realizes he’s charming and witty – and she falls just a little bit in love with him. Of course she knows nothing can come of it. Not only is she not a suitable bride for him, but she’s about to be off on a world tour – starting with Africa, where she’s just been offered a position with a charity group.

But that doesn’t stop her from accepting an invitation from Lisbeth Redmond to act as her paid companion. Something that will put her into constant contact with Jules. She doesn’t accept solely for that reason, but it is a nice added bonus. While there, she befriends two silly society misses, who invite her to town to spend the season with them. Much to her surprise – including hers – she soon becomes the toast of the town. She receives flowers, odes are written to her beauty and she becomes known as The Original. Yet it’s Jules she’s drawn to.

Jules has spent most of his life trying to undo the damage his father did to the family reputation and coffers. He decides Lisbeth Redmond will be the perfect bride. Marrying her will restore a piece of land to his family. Plus, she comes from a powerful family, which will make a good connection for him. But from the moment he meets Phoebe Vale, he’s drawn to her. Her quick wit and sharp mind draw him in just as much as her looks. He must marry Lisbeth, but he wants Phoebe. So he offers to make her his mistress. Which, he soon realizes, she will never agree to. So where do they go from here?

Long excels at writing smart characters with excellent dialogue. Both Jules and Phoebe are well drawn, and their journey is one that tugs at the heartstrings.While I didn’t love this one quite as much as What I Did For a Duke (the best in the series, I think), I did enjoy it quite a bit. Phoebe is practical and levelheaded, yet she has a whimsical, dreamy side that keeps her from being staid or boring. It was easy to see why Jules was drawn to her. Likewise, Jules was a very loveable character. They had great chemistry and a strong connection that came through well.

Another excellent Pennyroyal Green novel from Long. A satisfying blend of humor and depth. Not to be missed.

4.5 out of 5

The series:
The Perils of Pleasure (Pennyroyal Green Series)Like No Other Lover (Pennyroyal Green Series)Since the Surrender (Pennyroyal Green Series)I Kissed an Earl (Pennyroyal Green Series)What I Did For a Duke: Pennyroyal Green Series

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-half-stars


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Review: What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long

Posted April 19, 2012 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne LongReviewer: Holly
What I Did For a Duke with Bonus Material by Julie Anne Long
Series: Pennyroyal Green #5
Also in this series: Like No Other Lover, I Kissed an Earl, How the Marquess Was Won, It Happened One Midnight, The Legend of Lyon Redmond
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: December 4th 2012
Pages: 371
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

For years, he's been an object of fear, fascination . . . and fantasy. But of all the wicked rumors that shadow the formidable Alexander Moncrieffe, Duke of Falconbridge, the ton knows one thing for certain: only fools dare cross him. And when Ian Eversea does just that, Moncrieffe knows the perfect revenge: he'll seduce Ian's innocent sister, Genevieve—the only Eversea as yet untouched by scandal. First he'll capture her heart . . . and then he'll break it.

But everything about Genevieve is unexpected: the passion simmering beneath her cool control, the sharp wit tempered by gentleness . . . And though Genevieve has heard the whispers about the duke's dark past, and knows she trifles with him at her peril, one incendiary kiss tempts her deeper into a world of extraordinary sensuality. Until Genevieve is faced with a fateful choice . . . is there anything she won't do for a duke?

I have read and enjoyed all of Long’s Pennyroyal Green series. Some I enjoyed more than others, sure, but overall the series is well done. She has a beautiful writing voice and her characters are always unconventional. But with this latest entry she has blown all the others out of the water. What I Did For a Duke is superb and utterly fantastic.

Genevieve has been in love with Harry forever. They, along with another girl, Lady Millicent Blenkenship, are best friends. But Genevieve knows she and Harry are meant for each other. They share all the same passions and interests, and they know each other better than anyone else. She knows he hasn’t proposed yet because, though he will eventually inherit a title, he has no fortune to go with it. She doesn’t care about that and she’s sure her father won’t either, once he sees how much they truly love each other. Still, she’s content to wait for Harry to propose…until Harry tells her he plans to propose to Millicent.

Genevieve is devastated. Though many consider her laid back, shy, even reserved, the truth is she’s just as passionate as the rest of her family..she just thinks before she speaks and takes the time to internalize her feelings. And now all of her feelings are ripped wide open.

Enter Alexander Moncrieffe, Duke of Falconridge. He’s turned up unexpectedly for a small house party the family is planning and Genevieve’s mother is hinting – not too subtly – that she needs to entertain him, and perhaps gain a marriage proposal while she’s at it. Of course no one sees that she’s dying inside, waiting for Harry to propose to Millicent and ruin her life forever….no one except the duke, that is.

Alex has his own reasons for showing up. Not a few days before, he caught Ian Eversea, Genevieve’s brother, in bed with his fiance. While Alex isn’t the most sentimental of men, he’d planned to give his all to his marriage and the fact that his fiance couldn’t do the same..well, it makes him extremely angry. Rather than calling Ian out, he decides to get revenge in another way – by ruining a woman Ian loves. In this case, his sister, Genevieve. But for all the ton thinks of him as an ogre, the truth is he’s just reserved and not afraid to go after what he wants – sometimes ruthlessly. He starts out with revenge in mind, but Genevieve soon calls him on it, and he changes course, deciding he wants Genevieve for reasons that have nothing to do with her brother and everything to do with herself. Too bad Genevieve’s heart is forever broken…or is it?

Everything I love about this book can be summed up in two words: Mature Hero. Y’all, Alex is a grown man who acts like a grown man. He’s loved and lost, but that didn’t make him cynical about love and marriage. He took time to grieve his losses, then chose to move on. Though the woman he chose to marry turned out to be unfaithful and unchaste, he’d planned to give his all to her and their marriage. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to read about a mature man who acts like a mature man.

The banter between Alex and Genevieve is very well done. He realizes early on that she’s got a sharp mind and quick wit, and he often takes advantage, teasing her and testing her limits.

“What are your pleasures and pursuits, Lord Moncrieffe?” Miss Eversea asked too brightly, when the silence had gone on for more than was strictly comfortable or polite.
That creaky conversation lubricant. It irritated him again that she was humoring him.
“Well, I’m partial to whores.”
Her head whipped toward him like a weather-vane in a hurricane. Her eyes, he noted, were enormous, and such a dark blue they were nearly purple. Her mouth dropped, and the lower lip was quivering with shock or… or…
“Whor… whores…?” She choked out the word as if she’d just inhaled it like bad cigar smoke.
He widened his own eyes with alarm, recoiling slightly.
“I… I beg your pardon – Horses. Honestly, Miss Eversea,” he stammered. “I do wonder what you think of me if that’s what you heard.”

Genevieve holds her own with him, as much as a young woman can against a man who has been around the block a time or two. He suggests she use him to make Harry jealous, and she agrees..not realizing his evil plan isn’t to make Harry jealous at all, but to make Genevieve fall in love with Alex. Alex’s passion is hard for Genevieve to resist, even when she thinks it’s Harry she wants.

“A proper kiss, Miss Eversea, should turn you inside out. It should . . . touch places in you that you didn’t know existed, set them ablaze, until your entire being is hungry and wild…It should slice right down through you like a cutlass with a pleasure so devastating it’s very nearly pain … It should make you want to do things you’d never dreamed you’d want to do, and in that moment all of those things will make perfect sense. And it should herald, or at least promise, the most intense physical pleasure you’ve ever known, regardless of whether that promise is ever, ever fulfilled. It should, in fact . . . ” he paused for effect “ . . . haunt you for the rest of your life.”

There are some flaws. Genevieve’s actions at the end are frustrating, as is her youth in general. Though she isn’t a teen, she sometimes acts like she is. Even so, I liked her. I mean, I genuinely liked her. She’s someone I could be friends with, I think. I don’t say that about many romance heroines, either.

A lovely and unconventional read. I highly recommend it.

5 out of 5

The series:

The Perils of Pleasure (Pennyroyal Green Series)Like No Other Lover (Pennyroyal Green Series)Since the Surrender (Pennyroyal Green Series)I Kissed an Earl (Pennyroyal Green Series)What I Did For a Duke: Pennyroyal Green Series

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

five-stars


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